Test prep season can be absolute madness! It can feel like an uphill battle trying to keep students engaged while simultaneously squeezing in new content and reviewing for the state exam. The last thing we want is to lose our students’ interest and waste time teaching – when they aren’t retaining. The good news is test prep season can be meaningful and enjoyable for both you and your students. One of my favorite ways to do this is through interactive science activities for elementary students.
At its core, science is interesting because students are often curious and interested in what they are learning. We can use this to our advantage in the classroom by allowing our students to engage with the content in a hands-on way, even when reviewing.
#1 Close Reading Science Texts
When we think of engaging science activities for elementary students, we often think of experiments and investigations only. However, being able to read and comprehend scientific content is a critical life skill – and it sure does help for the state exam, too! Even when students have graduated, they will still need to read and analyze nonfiction texts.
With the 5th Grade Science Reading Comprehension Bundle, students can practice growing and developing their comprehension skills all year long – while also reading engaging passages. This resource is a great way to tie science together with literacy and help students prepare for state testing.
#2 Science Board Games
If you can turn something into a classroom game, why not? Incorporating board games into your review is a great low-prep and hands-on science activity for elementary students. I know my students would rather practice with a game than a worksheet any day!
My 5th Grade Science Board Games Resource includes twenty different board games covering key science topics and standards. You can use these games as an ongoing center, for early finishers, or during test prep season as a review station. Your students will have so much fun playing the games, and the best part is they’ll be reviewing meaningful content the whole time.
#3 Science Vocabulary Puzzles & Activities
I don’t know about you, but I have students who will review anything if it means they get to do a crossword puzzle. Crossword puzzles, word searches, and mazes are inherently fun, and a lot of content can be squeezed into them to make them the perfect hands-on review. They are perfect science activities for elementary students!
This Science Vocabulary Activity Bundle is a yearlong resource and contains over forty vocabulary puzzles and activities. This is perfect for 5th grade but can also be used in 4th and 6th grade as well, since many vocabulary words carry through the different grade levels. These puzzles can act as independent work, or they can be done in partners or small groups. You can make it work for your classroom!
#4 Science Flip Book
Flip books are also fantastic science activities for elementary students. Flip books make an excellent review tool because they help students keep their review materials organized. When students only have one place to look to find key concepts and vocabulary, they are more likely to keep up with it and utilize it.
The 5th Grade Science Review Flipbooks cover every single 5th grade science standard and comes in three different versions to make differentiation simple. You can use them in small groups as a hands-on review or work through the flipbook over time during your mini-lessons. This activity will particularly appeal to your students who thrive on organization. There is even a digital version available if you teach online or have one-to-one technology in your classroom.
#5 Science Vocabulary Matching Game
The final of the science activities for elementary students that I’ll share is this Vocabulary Matching Game. Vocabulary trips a lot of students up during the state test because many of the words are specific to a unit (and are therefore easy to forget).
Regularly reviewing science vocabulary is a good idea to help prepare students for state testing. Practicing vocabulary with a matching game takes a lackluster task and makes it hands-on and engaging. One of the best parts is that this resource is super low-prep for you. All you need to do is print the puzzles on cardstock or regular paper, and then cut them out. Then, you can reuse the puzzle over and over again.
If you’re entering this test prep season ready to ditch the worksheets and give your students lots of hands-on practice, I hope these ideas have inspired you! I have a whole blog post about science activities for elementary students that are not just worksheets. You can also read about some other fun strategies that you can incorporate into your science review.